This was a really sad email to get, I remember how much he meant to you. I love what you said about sports, its so true. There is so much pride in sports, it makes sports not too great to watch. I can still remember watching Sports Center and hearing the commentators talk about how much they were tired of Terrell Owens and his post touchdown dances. They are all attention wh*res haha. I think the world really needs more good men like that, people who are so humble, and overall great. There is no amount of touchdowns that could ever equate to being the first person to the moon, and I'm sure Neil Armstrong wasn't so self focused on the moon. It sounds like he had his priorities in other places like his family. I think its awesome that he had greater pride in his family rather than the moon.
This week has been amazing. We have been getting good work done. We were only able to teach 14 lessons this week. We spent so much time looking for a new apartment, as well as our town, Baao had a 3 day long piesta where we had a hard time teaching. So many members and investigators were in Baao centro attending the piesta, that our work suffered a bit. The new training program is doing really good though. Elder Madsen is an awesome missionary and is doing great with the language. He is doing better than I was my 3rd transfer....he is only in his 3rd week in the Philippines haha! If he keeps it up I'm going to run out of things to teach him. We are having a good time together. We are "OYMing" to every one. OYM means opening your mouth, and we are having great success with that. We have 8 new investigators this week, same amount as last week. I remember if I got 1 or 2 each week I felt really accomplished, but in the past 2 weeks we are at 16.... So awesome.
On Thursday we were walking down the highway at about 2pm, and a dude on a motorcycle pulls over and says "Elders"! I recognized him as a the same guy who gave us a free ride on his pudjak last week. When we met him we told him we weren't interested in riding the pudjak because we had to save our money, so he said it was for free. Before we got off the pudjak we got his number and gave him a pamphlet. So as we were walking down the highway the next week (this week), he pulled over and asked us to come to his house. He said he had somewhere to go but that he'd be back in 5 minutes, so he pointed to his house and we waited there until he got back. We taught him, his wife and his 5 friends and they all asked us to come back, it went really good.
This past week we also taught someone who we contacted last week while walking to our next appointment. When we met this guy, Celix, we thought he was just a poor man because of his clothes and that he was just cleaning up the bushes in front of a big house. When we returned for our appointment, it turns out that that house was his, and he also liked our message. We are really seeing people ready to be taught. I'm trying to have faith that they actually want to be taught instead of just knowing why there are 2 Americans walking around in the heat speaking Tagalog. Either way if we have the Spirit, we will be able to help them make changes. We are having a really hard time making time for everyone to be taught. We have such a large area, as well as a growing teaching pool. It's really hard to plan all of what we need to do each week. If we focus more on investigators, it seems that some of our LA's seem to struggle. When we focus on LA's, the investigators don't get the attention they need. If we could really find the perfect balance, this area would progress so much. I have such high hopes for this area before I leave. When I left Paracale, the area was doing great, now when I leave Baao, I hope it too will continue to be booming; better than I left it.
This week we found an apartment that we want to rent. We are waiting to hear from President if its approved. Hopefully it will be, we are running out of places to look for new apartments. Once we have one in Baao, our area will progress so much. We have also been looking for a new meeting house for our group. Its really hard to give directions to our church now, because we meet at a members house. Once we can find a big enough place, and we think we have, that too will help the membership so much. This area will be a branch in no time.
We had such an awesome time this week meeting Elders Cook, Callister, and Ardern, as well as their wives. They are so awesome and we learned so much. I clearly remember seeing and hearing all of them speak at General Conference, and I thought it was so cool that they came to talk to us personally. I will forward President's email that he wrote about the fireside. He wrote it for missionaries who weren't able to attend the meeting in Legazpi. One of the best parts of going to Legazpi was I got to see some of the stake leaders from Daet stake! I miss them so much. When we were about to head into the chapel, the leaders of the stakes and districts were heading out, and they yelled "Elder Kornegay" then I ran straight to them and gave them all hugs. I saw President Abao (the stake president), and President Favia (the BP from Paracale), as well as another bishop from Daet 1st or 2nd ward I think. So awesome. I also saw Elder Fronk who I really missed, as well as Elder Smith, Elder Gilliam, and a bunch of other missionaries. I saw the Paracale missionaries and asked them how everything in MY area was doing :)
I also forgot to say that at the very end I was able to catch Elder Cook. I was super lucky and able to say goodbye before he left and told him that I'm Gordon Eliason's grandson. He got a big smile on his face and told me how much he loved him, and how they played football together. He said "send my love to him, for me". It was way amazing to meet an Apostle. I could really feel that they are special witnesses. Before Elder Cook came into the building I told myself that I wanted to watch and listen to everything that Elder Cook did, and didn't do, as well as every word, motion, etc. I wanted to see what the Lord looks for in an Apostle. We are always told that Jesus Christ is the perfect example in everything, but its so hard to really picture perfection in everything. I'm not doubting his perfection in anyway, I'm just saying that I believed that if I could see a "real example" of Jesus Christ, in real life. What exactly Christ would do, say, act, etc. if He was here. I feel like I learned so much just from seeing Elder Cook. Stuff that I want to do more of everyday so that I can be more Christlike. I saw him always smiling. I saw the way his hands held other's hands when he shook some one's hand. He always looked happy and awake, even though he must of been really tired. I saw that he really loved us even though he had just met us. He had a huge knowledge of the scriptures which blew us away. When he bore his testimony he didn't stutter. It was straight and super powerful.